Friday, 15 February 2013

MW merger.... wot a carve up...

With all the news out there regarding the merger between a good magsazine - Miniature Wargames and a mediocre one- Battlegames I thought I'd lay about me with my two bobs worth. Battlegames never did it for me- there was simply no content of any interest. - I have 13 issues the first 13 and one hopes it has improved since then since leaving aside Mike Siggins and- occaionally Stuart Aasquith ther was so little to engage my interest. If the new "combination" leans more towards BG than MW then I can see no way forward since BG looked almost entirely backwards to some mythical "Golden Age of Old School Wargaming"- and as one who was there it simply wasn't so dudes. Crap figures often crappily painted on crap terrain using Crap rules- mind you we didn't know any better but that does not mean we want to return to those days. Now I'm not saying that the new mag will do that but it has to be a concern- BG catered to a niche market (OFW) within a niche marker(Miniatures Wargaming in general)and appears to have been good at it but frankly the whole idea eventually just got me down. It smacked too much of a bunch of silly old farts in carpet slippers trying to return to a non-existant childhood with fictional countries out of storybookland- all that was missing was the big crayons and round ended scissors...... and yes I know I'm being waspish again and thats farfar from the whole story but that IS the impression that the first 13 BG still give me as I look at them again in the light of this news. MW on the other hand- especially under the Editorship of Andrew Hubback has improved a long way from what it was- which was to be sure pretty average. Currently its my favourite magazineand has been for the past couple of years its mix of articles to suit many differing tastes. One can only hope that the new combined title will have equally as broad a selection - even including OFW- which I'm no fan of but does have its place in our all embracing hobby . Ah well we'll have to wait and see won't we.....


  1. Well you are certainly entitled to your opinion, sir. And you express it most clearly.

    My feelings run opposite of yours . . . and I'm entitled to mine as well.

    Let us both hope that the combined magazine will have the best of its two components.

    -- Jeff

  2. Crap figures, crappily painted, on crap terrain using Crap rules..

    Mmmm, crappy. Ah, happy days.

  3. Jeff- Opinions- yes of course that goes without saying and as I said I hope for better than the evidence implies However its the narrowness of BG that worries me. Will that narrow outlook continue? Despite bering in my 50s I'm a bloody long way from carpet slippers yet and I did the 70s once no need to go back there.
    Yes there WAS a lot of crap about- unless you were well heeled and could afford better- rare in the 70s. Looking back - despite my Staddens , Surens, Higgins atc- which I couldn't afford then. I'm of the opinion that I couldn't regularly buy "proper" armies until the mid eighties. If memory serves I didn't buy my first completly metal army until 1976-77- minifigs ECW-.
    If there ever was a golden age it was the 90s but I'm not even sure about that.

  4. Andy,

    I can't really argue. Hichliffe were very slow to hit their stride, some early figures are pretty dreadful. IMO Minifgs had a period during the S range when they got character and action into their figures, but not all and sandwiched between some dire ranges before and after. Les Higgins never made a bad figure some others never made a good one.

    I reckon that a Suren Cavalryman cost about £12 -14 in todays money so it wasn't even as cheap a hobby as it is today. But what has gone for sure is the excitement at new figure range or an army that one knew nothing about, what is a macedonian?

    There is really no accounting for nostalgia. Though in fairness I believe Henry has worked hard to throw off the period piece label and make Battlegames a balanced modern magazine. All of which is history now , the proof of the pudding etc.

  5. I tend to agree with you Andy. I have the first 20-odd issues of Battlegames and they all smell faintly of Ralgex and Werther's Originals.

  6. Andy, I agree with you (shock horror vicar exposé!) never liked BG much.

  7. Being an old fart myself (started in the 1960s in short pants)I'd like to stick up for the earlier version of BG since it did try to recapture some of the "excitement" John refers to of the olden days. However, my personal approach is to embrace the new while still trying to keep some flavour of the old. Let's hope the new magazine will manage that. Thank you for this discussion.

  8. Tastes differ, in this as in everything else. For mine though, I find the crappy figures, crappy terrain, crappy execution and crappy rule sets - done with imagination are just as eye-catching as the lovingly sculpted figures, the realistically detailed terrain pieces, the attention to detail paint jobs, and the ... erm ... glossy rule sets. Frankly, I dislike most commercial rule sets, even ones I respect (note the distinction), because rule sets have unique styles and encourage certain styles of play. Modern ones for mine 'lack the passion that whips the blood.'

    On these blogs, I'll look at Blogger A of the 'attention to detail' school (I'll call it that faute de mieux), admire his eye candy, and go 'ooh, aah', but I'm not especially inspired to emulate that. Failing eyesight (I have cataracts in one eye) rather limits me there, though I've never especially enjoyed modelling and painting anyhow. I just like the results (I'm the same about cooking by the way: I don't like cooking, but I do enjoy what I cook!). Then I look at Blogger B with his crude set up, basic figures. simple paint jobs, stylised terrain, quick play rule sets - but the way he puts the whole gig together just looks like fun. There are several Bloggers A and Bloggers B both in my list of Blogs I follow.

    The main reason I like Imagi-Nations, is that one is not so trammelled by history. I found after several years and a fair bit of reading, I seemed to become over-familiar with the wars in question, which tends to put a crimp (I felt) on wargaming the 'big picture' (anything much above skirmish level). My Napoleonics will probably never do 'Imagi-Nations' as such, but there will be fictitious campaigns and operations anyway. So Marshal Dubonnet of France will take on General the Marquess of Whitbread, Graf von Carlsberg, Marshal-General Smirnoff and General Schnapps-Gargler. So what's the difference?

    Yep, I'm also a BOF, one of the OFS, but that will not stop me admiring the 'new schools', checking out their ideas, and pinching from them anything that will be useful in setting up my own games.

    Finally - I don't much bother with magazines these days. I still have several back issues of Battle, Military Modelling, Model Soldier and others... Enough to clutter up a bookshelf or two.

  9. Some intereting stuff there from several chaps
    John - Les Higgins never did make a bad un.. I can't offhand think of anythig he did as crap.Hincliffe and minifigs - yep agree with that- Saw on ebay recently some minifigs which I hd some of ECW musketeers in full pikemans armour- Gawd give me sa brake! Mind you I was daft engought to buy some but have learned better since.
    Dr Bogenbroom - Yep exactly my point but put far better - though if John Preece says later editions have improved upon that I await the merger with interest.
    Chris - "Excitement" is for girls in short skirts anf high heels not toy soldiers but yes I'll take a mix of old and new- whatever works.
    Bloody hell there's a turn up !! - but wasn';t it you who in the old DWG days first called me the resident heretic???

    Ion- as for modelling I'm registered as "visually impaired" but can still paint a soldier or two its as least as important as the actual playing if not more so As for BOF dom - hopefully only after they've screwed the lid on and yes I'm kicking and screameing all the way.....

    1. Hmm replying to myself... Well its simply that I've ponered a bit I posted this on the 40mm Yahoo group
      "I simply find much of the fictional country stuff very derivative- yet many- not all by any means- see Tidders and Wittemberg for a start- won't acknowledge their debt to the history and claim its an "imagination " which has to be one of the most godawful terms invented and indeed as I type this may even be at the core of my objection . My line in the sand tends to be made up uniforms and some of the more childish excesses one sees- teddy bears in shako Racoons with chainsaws. which I simply consider peurile
      I find myself not objecting to fictional countries per se but to their appearence in mainstream magazines. Surely these creations are particular to their creator. The best of them have an internal logligic of their own- I read Tidders Wittemberg blog faily regularly but do find many of the comments ... welll odd some of those chaps need to get out more --
      I've even done the fictional thing myself - Zingola only exists in the mind and a few maps somwhere as does its best general Abel Tofokyo - thankfully , but I can't take that kind of stuff seriously - its light relief. Something different from the historical research and reading and modelling and the somewhat more serious games and refights I like to have a bash at..
      Its about no beiong simply a one trick pony
      I've never however found myself trammelled by history in any way- there is too much of it I don't know yet."

      Needless to say "Zingola" is Angola with bad jokes and on this blog "Harraq" is Iraq likewise. I claim neither of these as works of the imagination and even the jokes are not particularly new.

    2. Andy
      You wrote <<"Excitement" is for girls in short skirts and high heels not toy soldiers>> Do you mean that only girls can get excited or that it's only girls that excite you? Either way you, from a wargaming perspective, are risking seeming a boring old fart yourself. I would humbly suggest that you see my blog
      and my art webpages
      to see that you can have it all and be a BOF Imagi-Nation wargamer too. Personally I think that word is clever and perfectly describes the genre but would agree if your Imagi-Nation is all one has then getting a life is required. By the way, I've even been known, on rare occasions, to find rugby exciting :-)

    3. Chris- as ever I was taking the p*** and in that vien Touche ! - a palpable hit sir ! It will teah me to be more lingustically precise!
      Seriously though - whereeve my line in the sand appears that does not mean others have to or more especially should have, their line in the smae place- live and let live dude!
      mind you it won't stop me taking the p*** if I get the urge.....
      I often feel that being the "resident Heretic" is a Service to the Wagaming Nation....

  10. I could not agree more. While my games feature fictional scenarios, the troops and background of the troops/nations involved is historical. I have zero (0) interest in goofy Germanic named countries with bad puns abounding. The backstory and history of imaginations seem to take over and become of more interest than anything else. The thing is....does anyone care about those backgrounds other than the author??

    1. Brent - precisely my point- though these thing range from amusing to godawful . Perhaps also its the very limited imagi-nation used- to create some of these fictions. Surely one would hope that there are some ficvtional outfits out there thsat are NOT 18th century NOT Germanic - I can think of a couple that are not the latter- but only one offhand that is not either